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Norfolk Coast AONB

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This long coastal strip incorporates the finest, remotest and wildest of Norfolk’s renowned marsh coastlands.

It includes the silt expanses of the Wash, the north-facing coastal marsh and dunes of the Heritage Coast and the high boulder clay cliffs east of Weybourne which the sea is rapidly eroding away. The coast is backed by gently rolling chalkland and glacial moraine including the distinctive 90-m high Cromer Ridge. An undulating, intimate landscape under huge skies, the area is characterised by its imposing churches and quiet brick and flint villages and small towns such as Wells-next-the-Sea.

This is a soft shifting coastline of unique scientific and ecological value and contains some of the most important salt-marsh, intertidal flats, dunes, shingle and grazing marsh in Europe. Together the coastal habitats form an ecosystem of outstanding importance and National Nature Reserves within the area include the world-famous bird reserves, Titchwell and Cley Marshes, and Winterton Dunes, one of the country’s finest dune systems. The Heritage Coast stretch is a Ramsar site, a Biosphere Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and candidate Special Area for Conservation (SAC) and Marine SAC.

The coast’s rural economy increasingly relies on tourism and other service industries’ although agriculture and fishing still have a role to play. The designated area skirts the larger Norfolk resorts such as Cromer but its north coast is a popular sailing area and includes small but busy sailing villages such as Brancaster and Blakeney.

The coast attracts many day and weekend visitors, particularly from East Anglia, the East Midlands and London. Walking, touring, visiting beaches and exploring villages are the most popular activities. Walking is focused on the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path National Trail.